A Swellesley reader this week brought to our attention the recent passing of Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who grew up in Wellesley. While we weren’t familiar with Franks’ work, in hindsight it’s hard to figure out how we missed all this.
A New York Times obituary describes Franks as a “tough and scrappy reporter with an eye for the hot story.” The Times would know, since she wrote for it, among many others, including The Atlantic and The New Yorker. She won the Pulitzer in 1971 for reporting a series on the Weather Underground, which the Times described as a “domestic terrorist organization.”
She also wrote books, including “My Father’s Secret War: A Memoir” about her father’s work as an American spy during World War II. In her bio for the memoir “Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me,” Franks describes Wellesley, where she grew up in the 1950s and 1960s
She wrote in part:
I was born near Boston, in the manicured suburb of Wellesley, a universe away. It was a town, like many others, of wealth, social status, and women who often had raised noses. Wellesley College, one of the famous ‘Seven Sisters,’ was a separate entity, hardly spoken of. Instead, the guilty pleasure of this upper middle class Republican enclave was the paranoid John Birch Society, mother to the paranoid Tea Party decades later. In my memory, the town remains a collage of slouchy bobby sox (pity to you if you wore thin skinny sox), ‘make-out parties’ where stubby hands groped underneath shirtwaist dresses the color of popsicles, and boy’s big football cleats swinging absurdly from their girlfriends’ necks.
Franks lived in New York at the time of her death.